The ultimate fate of Saturn as an automotive brand remains uncertain, pending the outcome of the offers currently being made to buy it from a shrinking General Motors. One thing is certain though, it will not remain a part of GM. One of the primary reasons that Saturn is being disposed of is poor sales. There is, however, one exception to that sales record: hybrids. So far, Saturn has accounted for about a quarter of GM's sales of hybrids. Saturn also had the best CAFE numbers of any GM division, thanks to the absence of any full-size body-on-frame vehicles or fuel-thirsty V8 engines in brand showrooms.
Removing those sales from GM's total will likely have a negative impact on GM's overall CAFE numbers, at least in the short term. Looking more closely at the sales, though, shows that the automaker's big two-mode hybrid trucks have been taking an increasingly large proportion of GM's hybrid sales over the course of 2008. The powertrain of the two-mode Saturn Vue will almost certainly be migrated to other GM vehicles such as the new Chevy Equinox and Cadillac SRX, helping the entire porfolio's numbers as well. Another factor offsetting the loss of Saturn is the end of HUMMER and Pontiac, both of which have a number of lower mileage vehicles.
[Source: Automotive News-sub req'd]
Photos copyright 2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs. Inc.